Monday, January 28, 2008

8th Kyu Blue Belt
January 26, 2008
Test Number 445

After an hour and a half test, the little guy came home Saturday morning with the Holy Grail of karate, an 8th Kyu Blue belt- at least in the eyes of a 6 year old. Josh's teacher told him that the bar has now been set a bit higher, and he's going to have to really work hard over the next year or so to reach the next color belt (green). Josh still really enjoys the classes, so I'm pretty confident that he'll stick with this. Way to go my little kung-foo karate dude!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Too Much to Ask?

"No blinding insights emerged from these months of conversation. If anything, what struck me was just how modest people’s hopes were, and how much of what they believed seemed to hold constant across race, region, religion, and class. Most of them thought that anybody willing to work should be able to find a job that paid a living wage. They figured that people shouldn't have to file for bankruptcy because they got sick. They believed that every child should have a genuinely good education- that it shouldn't just be a bunch of talk- and that those same children should be able to go to college even if their parents weren’t rich. They wanted to be safe, from criminals and from terrorists; they wanted clean air, clean water, and time with their kids. And when they got old, they wanted to be able to retire with some dignity and respect.

That was about it. It wasn’t much. And although they understood that how they did in life depended mostly on their own efforts- although they didn’t expect government to solve all their problems, and certainly didn’t like seeing their tax dollars wasted- they figured that government should help.

I told them that they were right: government couldn’t solve all their problems. But with a slight change in priorities we could make sure every child had a decent shot at life and meet the challenges we faced as a nation. More often than not, folks would nod in agreement and ask how they could get involved. And by the time I was back on the road, with a map on the passenger’s seat, on my way to my next stop, I knew once again just why I’d gone into politics."

The Audacity of Hope
-Barack Obama

What a shame that presidential elections can’t be simplified and re-focused to address simple, relevant issues like these that directly affect our everyday lives. This is not an endorsement for one individual candidate…but rather a simple wish that whoever receives the nomination for president…he (or she) will embrace the notion that- when it comes right down to it- most all of us just want our kids to grow up well-educated, safe from harm’s way, and genuinely happy in life.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Josh's Theatrical Debut

Well, the little guy will be performing on March 14-15 as he has landed a role in the Chapel Kids Ministry production of Something's Up on Damascus Road- a modern day tale where kids learn how to love and care for each other.

Josh attended his first rehearsal with the rest of the Straight Street Singers last night. In addition to Wednesday evening rehearsals, he has a choir camp scheduled for Feb 18 and two dress rehearsals the week of the performance. Wednesday have now become an evening for the two of us as we get to church around 5:30, have dinner together out in the atrium, and then both go to our own rehearsals. On the car ride home from practice, my son serenaded me with his first tune that he learned from the show..."I'm just a little squirt."
Get your tickets's certain to be a hit! I know that I can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

13 big deal, right?

No whimping out for me now…I finally got around to registering online for the Cleveland 1/2 Marathon yesterday, so let the training begin through May 18th. Up until just a few weeks ago, I was still dragging my feet on this commitment, but having joined the new Barberton YMCA will serve as a wonderful alternative to running in sub-freezing temperatures over the next couple of months.
The program that I’m following provides me with a specific running/ mile count schedule as well as a target weight, which I’m currently about 15 pounds away from…ugh!!! Talk about a vote of confidence- or lack thereof- this online survey/ fitness profile that I completed the other day indicated that if I don't lose the weight/ clock the specified miles (@ 150 miles over a 10 week period), the possibility of me actually completing this run was somewhat remote at best. Oh well, I figure that come the day of the race, and after 10 miles or so I can't lift my legs for one more stride...I'll just hit one of the many pubs in the downtown area, kick back, feast on some chicken wings, and watch the "real" athletes conquer the course. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

What I Did on My Winter Break...

I can honestly say that in the 17 years of teaching English, I never assigned this pathetically unoriginal theme to my students. Now to blog on this, though, is entirely different.

But as tempting as it is to lay out in minute detail how I bummed around my house for two weeks, I'll refrain. (Although, I did become quite proficient in assembling Josh's Star Wars/ Pirates Lego sets- each one with a minimum of 500+ pieces...ugh!) But instead, - as I just spent the last 15 or 20 minutes looking back at my 2007's posts, it struck me as to how easy it can be to forget all the things that go on in your life in just a year. So here's my top monthly highlights from this past year...

  • January: Josh's testing for his gold karate belt- the little dude was ecstatic!

  • February: Monster Jam at the Gund with Josh and Marie

  • March: Some old geyser turned 40

  • April: Tribe snowy home opener

  • May: trip to Boston for the Advancement Council seminar

  • June: Father's Day at the Jake with the little guy

  • July: Boettler Park Sand Volleyball with Sandman, Quick-Serve, and the rest of the gang

  • August: Back to school and learning the Admissions gig

  • September: The Labor of Love Run with Josh, and the Akron Roadrunner Relay Marathon Race with Maureen, Emily, Jeff, and Glen

  • October: Marie's 13th birthday on the Nautica Queen

  • November: Kalahari Thanksgiving- nothing like eatin' turkey in your swim trunks

  • December: Chapel Christmas Concerts and chillin' with the kids over the break

So what's ahead for 2008? I'm definitely, positively, without any doubt, going to run the 1/2 marathon in Cleveland. We all just joined the new YMCA that opened up in downtown Barberton, and I'll do some running and light cross-training up through the end of February. Then- come March- I've got a program that I intend to follow to build up the stamina that I'll need to complete the 13 mile race. I'm hoping that I can convince a certain piano guy that I know to run the race with me this year...we'll see.

Secondly, I'm going to continue my Bible study with Greg. I started an on-line Bible blog site last year at this time, and God love Greg, he has stuck with me for an entire year. We've gotten almost all the way through the history books (we're currently on Nehemiah), and then the game plan is to tour the gospels throughout the Lenten period. No doubt I would not have persevered with this project had I not had somebody to bounce ideas off of...again, thanks so much for sticking with me on this Greg.

Thirdly, I'm going to make a concerted effort to set aside time each week- more than likely when the kids go to bed- to really hone my guitar skills- or lack thereof. I'm privileged to be able to play with such incredible musicians, and there is so much that I want to be able to do on the acoustic- it just takes that dreaded "p" word...practice, practice, practice.

And then I guess I'll keep blogging away. Hard to believe, but this will be my 242nd post, as I started in December 2005. What began as a unique little hobby has really taken off for me as an opportunity to reflect on the events and people in my life. It's fun and it keeps me out of trouble.